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We will file a paternity case if you have a child who was conceived and born when you were not married and paternity has not been established. Paternity may be voluntarily acknowledged when both parties sign a legal document witnessed by a notary public. The form is then filed with the Michigan Department of Community Health. Otherwise, paternity may be established by DNA testing and/or a court Order.
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You must first contact the Michigan Department of Human Services to request or apply for services provided by our office. A Child Support Specialist will assist you with the application. If necessary, they will attempt to locate an absent parent for you. Your case will then be referred to the Prosecutors Office and an appointment will be scheduled for you.
You must contact a Child Support Specialist at DHS by calling 866-540-0008 to begin the referral procedure.
Child support is withheld from the absent parents paycheck. If self-employed or unemployed, payment must be made personally. The Washtenaw County Friend of the Court collects and enforces child support obligations once your court Order is obtained. For further information, you may contact them at 734-222-3050.
Once the case is filed, we will schedule an appointment with the absent parent. The issues will be explained. A final Order, resolving the case by consent, may be signed at that time.
If the absent parent lives far away or out of state, we will send them notice of the case by certified mail. They may then contact us by telephone or mail. At times, it is necessary to arrange for papers to be served by an outside agency if the other party does not respond.
If the parties do not agree on the issues of custody or visitation, the Prosecutors Office will not represent you in resolving the dispute. You will need to seek a private attorney at that time. You may contact the Washtenaw County Lawyer Referral Service for further information regarding private representation at 996-3229.
DNA testing may be arranged in a paternity case filed by our office. The testing may be completed in our office or if a party lives more than 1 hour away, testing will be arranged closer to his/her home. All parties are notified of the date and time of their appointment approximately 2 weeks in advance.
The results are sent to our office in about 4 weeks after all parties are tested. Copies are sent to the parties and provided to the Court. The DNA testing will either determine that there is no possibility of paternity or that the probability of paternity is at least 99%. If the results show that the alleged father is not the biological father, the case is dismissed. If the results are positive, we contact the parties to resolve the case. Repayment of the processing fee is included in the final order.
If a party is ordered to appear for DNA testing and does not, the Court may enter an Order, which establishes legal paternity and includes a specific child support obligation.
If a private attorney files a paternity case and wants to arrange DNA testing in our area, arrangements can be made directly with DNA Diagnostic Center (DDC) at 800-310-9868.
Judgments involving minor children, conceived or born during the marriage, must be approved by the Prosecutors Office. Paternity disputes must be specifically addressed. Child support for all children must be included and any arrearages owed to the state of Michigan must be preserved, among other considerations. You may send any inquiries by email to the Prosecutor’s Office.
You will be notified of an appointment at the Prosecutors Office. You must bring all necessary documents such as your child's birth certificate, a copy of a prior acknowledgment of paternity, your marriage certificate, government issued I.D., or a prior judgment of divorce. A questionnaire mailed with your appointment notice must also be completed.
You will meet with an Assistant Prosecutor or legal assistant for an interview. A complaint for a paternity, child support or interstate case will be prepared for your review and signature. Your case will then be filed.
If a mother is married when a child is conceived or born, her husband is presumed to be the legal father unless a court order finds otherwise. This is true even if a child is born within 10 months of a divorce.
If the husband is not the biological father of the child, a court Order must be obtained which specifically identifies the child and finds that he is not the legal father.
Once the papers are served, the other party has 21 or 28 days to respond. If they fail to respond, we will set the case for Court and ask the Judge to enter an Order establishing paternity and/or child support. You will receive a copy of that Order. Payments will then be collected and obligations enforced by the Friend of the Court.
We can file a case for paternity and/or child support even if the absent parent lives in another state. In some cases, when that party is a former Michigan resident or other factors exist, we may still be able to file a case in our county.
If there are not sufficient ties to the state of Michigan, an action is filed under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The papers are prepared in our office, filed with our court and forwarded to the state where the absent parent resides. The final court Order must be obtained in the other state.
Although we file these cases immediately, we must depend on the other state to file and process our case when it is received. We cannot control the time it takes another state to obtain an Order. We will monitor the other states efforts on a regular basis and contact you if additional information is required.
We will file a case for child support if a child was born during the marriage of the parties or paternity was legally acknowledged. If the parties are married, no divorce action may be pending at the time of filing.
The final court order will include a child support obligation, to be paid by income withholding, a child care contribution, responsibility for medical insurance or uninsured medical expenses, the responsibility to report certain changes in circumstances or coverage to the Friend of the Court, reimbursement for pregnancy and/or childbirth expenses and, if the parties agree, visitation/parenting time and legal custody.